As a millennial, consuming television news post playtime was a passive choice. I remember how ‘Aaj Tak’ was a 10PM show and how it was the only other option besides ‘Aankhon Dekhi’ and the emotionless robotic news reading by DD News.
Nowhere did I imagine how news channels would beat daily soaps made by television Czarina Ekta Kapoor, and make a mockery of themselves while reporting on extremely serious matters.
It seems like they’ve made a good use of Noam Chomsky’s ‘agenda setting theory’ to ‘gratify its users’. The proof? A glance at BARC ratings show us how the audience would rather watch the most vilified coverage of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death than switch to anything more insightful or unbiased.
With that being said, here are the most ridiculous news segments that were packaged while reporting Rajput’s death.
1. Black Magic
According to a report by Times of India, Sushant's sister Meetu, during the interrogation told the Bihar Police that the late actor's house help informed her that his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was into 'black magic'.
The information was used by popular Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, which ran a segment using the same peg, suggesting Rhea did ‘kaala jaadu’ on Sushant.
This invited social media fury and many also pointed out that it is unethical to make such allegations under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
The act criminalises practices related to black magic, human sacrifices, use of magic remedies to cure ailments and other such acts which may exploit people's superstitions.
2. Food Delivery Boy
A food delivery boy was stopped outside Chakraborty’s residence and questioned about his whereabouts.
Reporters in the video can be seen asking him questions like where did he go, whom did he speak to, was he asked to not talk to the media, which flat number did he go to etc.
At one point a reporter even asks him to put his phone on speaker!
3. Cussing on Republic TV
As NCB officials took Sushant's former house manager Samuel Miranda with them, Republic TV went on-air to capture the LIVE footage of the same. However, during their “fast and furious” moment, a reporter can be heard cussing loud and clear.
The video went viral on social media with many netizens condemning the channel for not beeping out profanity.
However, instead of being accountable for their mistake, the channel threatened a law suit to anyone blaming them.
Their excuse? The channel maintained that the reporter was from another channel and was taking a lift in their car.
4. Zaid Vilatra’s Father
News reporter Arvind Ojha, who works for India Today and Aaj Tak was abused and threatened on live TV by alleged drug peddler Zaid Vilatra’s father.
Zaid has been arrested by the CBI for his involvement in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.
Ojha and his cameraman stood outside Vilatra’s residence and knocked on the door asking for his father to comment on the arrest.
The video which went viral on social media, has been condemned by netizens for the sheer invasion of privacy.
5. Postman outside Kangana Ranaut’s house
As alleged illegal structure at Kangana Ranaut's house was being demolished by a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), TV journalists looking for a byte spotted a man dressed in khakis. In enthusiasm, they forgot to ask his identity and started questioning him on why did he (BMC) demolish portions of the bungalow.
"I did not demolish (it). I am a postman," the man responded.
Unfazed, one of the reporters kept pestering him and he kept repeating. "Main postman hu... Arrey main postman hu...postman hai main." Thankfully one of the reporters was listening to his reply and told his colleague that he was merely a postman.
6. ABP recreating CBI interrogation
ABP news decided to recreate an entire package to show the interrogation scenario between CBI and Chakraborty.
7. Imma Bounce
A Times Now anchor deciphered the words “IMMA bounce” to that of a bounced cheque.
Little did he know that according to urban slang “IMMA bounce” translates to leaving or going somewhere.
8. JCB driver outside Kangana’s house
The JCB driver appointed by the BMC to demolish Kangana’s house was questioned by an Aaj Tak reporter who climbed onto it. As she asked him his name he refused to answer and instead counter-questioned “Kya karoge mera naam jaanke.”
9. Sushant’s dead body pictures
Just when you thought journalism couldn’t get worse, Times Now came up with new ways to sabotage the fourth pillar of democracy.
Senior journalist Navika Kumar did an entire segment on pictures of Sushant's dead body.
The video was deleted after receiving flak on social media.
10. Navika’s bag of evidence
Kumar also did an epic entrance in the news studio amid another segment stating she has a bag of evidence on the alleged drug link in Sushant’s case.